NFL Betting Lines Picks Week 16
All NFL game lines come courtesy of TopBet and are accurate as of Thursday, Dec. 21. Like always, though, please remember to circle back and check these odds, as they’ll be subject to minor, sometimes major, tweaks before kickoff.
Oakland Raiders (+9) At Philadelphia Eagles (-9)
Eagles Win, But The Raiders Will Cover
Has the Oakland Raiders‘ offense been largely unpredictable? Yes.
Is quarterback Derek Carr officially a weekly question mark? Yes.
In theory, then, this line isn’t ridiculous. At the same time: The Eagles don’t have Carson Wentz. We cannot just bank on their offense being potent enough to substantially outpace a Raiders defense that has delivered more bright spots than not.
Even if you’re all aboard the Eagles’ offensive bandwagon in the temporary post-Wentz era, it’s tough to buy into this lane. Their defense has shown cracks of late, allowing more than 29 points, on average, over the past three weeks. And let’s not forget the Eagles aren’t really playing for anything either. They’re in cruise control at 12-2. Once they get up by a touchdown, they’ll try running out the clock rather than drumming up the score.
The Pick: Oakland Raiders (+9)
Denver Broncos (+3.5) At Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Count On A Comfortable Cover From The Redskins
The low point spread here is justifiable.
Sure, the Washington Redskins are clearly the better team. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is no longer piloting a top-10 offense, but he’s almost single-handedly keeping his team around the league average. Washington’s recent stretch of averaging under 15 points over its past four games feels more like a temporary dry spell.
Beyond that, the Denver Broncos have nothing to offer us. They don’t even know who their starting quarterback is going to be for crying out loud. They’re deciding between Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, neither of whom is an especially prolific option. Washington may be sporting the 29th-ranked defense in terms of points per game, but even its porous schemes should hold up against Denver’s unwatchable attack.
Plus, on top of all that, the Broncos’ defense remains overrated. They’re 20th in points surrendered per game and 26th in total passing touchdowns allowed. Cousins should be able to have a fairly big day.
The Pick: Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Houston Texans (+9.5) At Pittsburgh Steelers (-9.5)
Cautiously Invest In The Steelers
Do not fear Antonio Brown’s absence for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are going to be fine.
To clarify: They’ll be fine this week. Moving forward, into the playoffs? Not so much. But we only care about this week, when they’re facing a hopeless and hapless and banged up Houston Texans squad.
Both Martavis Bryant and Juju Smith-Schuster give Ben Roethlisberger big-play options in Brown’s absence, and the Steelers always have running back Le’Veon Bell to lean on. They haven’t necessarily been a collective fireball at home this season, posting an average margin of victory just under nine points, but the Texans are extremely opponent-friendly at the moment, having lost each of their past four road tilts by an average of 20.5 points.
No, that is not a typo. Which means, yes, you should roll with the Steelers.
The Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (-9.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) At San Francisco 49ers (+4.5)
Blake Bortles’ Hot Streak = Easy Wins for Jags
People will be quick to note that the San Francisco 49ers‘ defense has been frisky at times this season. To those people I say: Have you watched Blake Bortles behind center for the Jacksonville Jaguars recently?
Bortles has completed more than 71 percent of his passes and thrown for seven touchdowns over the past three games, all of which were wins. His QB Rating during this stretch sits at a robust 128.6.
If any team is going to derail his latest surge, it won’t be the 49ers. They’re 25th in total passing touchdowns allowed, as well as 25th in net yards coughed up per passing attempt. And even if Bortles does falter, the Jaguars have one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks to offset the difference.
Add in that they’re entering Sunday afternoon’s tilt with the league’s stingiest defense, and it’s hard to imagine the 49ers gumming up enough of their game plans to remain within five points by the end of 60 minutes.
The Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5)
Seattle Seahawks (+5) At Dallas Cowboys (-5)
Side With Seattle’s Question For Redemption
Anyone who reads this space knows we’re higher on the Seattle Seahawks than their so-so 8-6 record seems to warrant. That holds especially true now, following the Week 15 beatdown they suffered at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams.
But the Seahawks still hover around the top 10 of both offensive and defensive output; they rank 13th and 12th, respectively. That balance creates problems for opponents on most weeks. The Rams turned out to be an exception. The Dallas Cowboys won’t be.
Ezekiel Elliott’s return to the lineup doesn’t change a simple truth: The Cowboys aren’t very good. And it’s their defense that’s the problem, not their offense, so he doesn’t add much to an 11th-ranked machine—especially when the Seahawks, despite struggling on defense overall, still rate pretty highly against the rush on a per-play basis. They cough up a lot of rushing touchdowns, but that’s more situational than symptomatic of anything authentic. They’re 13th in net yards per rushing attempt, which means they’re equipped to handle Dallas’ star back.
Maybe the Seahawks don’t win. Their playoff hopes are on the line, but they’ve also been a violent roller coaster all year. They remain the pick, though, if only because favoring the Cowboys by more than a field goal feels a tad lofty.
The Pick: Seattle Seahawks (+5)
*All statistics come courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference and are accurate leading into games being played during Week 16.
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